MORE ARGALIS REGISTERED ON SAILYUGEM RIDGE THAN IN PREVIOUS YEAR
Inhabitants of the Kosh-Agach district of the Altai Republic, interviewed during the argali count, note: there are more argalis on Sailyugem Ridge, they appear in places where they have not been seen before, for example, in the foothills of Yuzhno-Chuisky range. This indicates an increase in the number of Altai mountain sheep, but frightens local herders. Shepherds worry that wild ungulates will compete with livestock for pastures that are already scarce.
Altai mountain sheep on Sailyugem Ridge. (C) A. KUZHLEKOV
The argali counting expedition on Sailyugem Ridge was carried out by employees of Sailyugem National Park with the support of WWF Russia from October 11th to 18th. Argalis are constantly moving across the border from Russia to Mongolia and back, and this makes it difficult to estimate the precise numbers. That is why counting teams work simultaneously on both sides of the border. This technique guarantees that there will be no under-counting or double counting of the same individuals migrating across the border.
The counting of argalis on Sailyugem Ridge was carried out as part of the all-Russian full-scale census of the transboundary population of Altai mountain sheep in Russia, which is coordinated and supported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The argali census is carried out by specialists from Russia and Mongolia every two years, which in 2018 was formalized at the state level within the framework of the Russian-Mongolian Joint Commission on Environmental Protection.
leopard was spotted on automatic cameras installed on Sailyugem Ridge. Most
likely, the predator was hunting on argalis, since the Siberian ibex, the main
food of the snow leopard in Russia, is extremely rare or non-existent in these
places. The animal stayed near the camera traps for two or three days; perhaps
there was a prey nearby, to which it returned. Usually snow leopards just walk
past cameras. The census participants also met wolves, a Pallas' cat and a fox
of the dark color that isn't typical for the Kosh-Agach district.
Photo at the top of the page: A. Kuzhlekov